The Final 4 is set, so which teams made it?

It started on Saturday when #4 Louisville took on #7 Florida in a match between the protege (Florida coach Billy Donovan) and the mentor (Louisville coach Rick Pitino).  Pitino coached Donovan as a player when Donovan played point guard for Providence.  Since then, Donovan has gone on to win 2 National Championships with Florida.  And on Saturday, it looked like his Gators would march on to another Final 4 appearance, but, in the end, Louisville came surging back, and held their ground at the end of the game.  Chane Behanan had a marvelous night for the Cardinals with 17 points and 7 rebounds, and Louisville will go dancing.  After the game, Donovan said if he had to lose, he’s glad he lost to Pitino.  Louisville 72, Florida 68

Next up, it was #1 Syracuse trying to keep their brilliant season alive against #2 Ohio State.  Syracuse has been without their big man, Fab Melo, throughout the entire tournament, and have been relying on their talent (Dion Waiters, Brandon Triche, and Scoop Jardine), as well as their deep bench.  But, Ohio State has arguably the best big man in the country in Jared Sullinger, a guy who came back this year to give it one more shot at a championship (well that and draft position).  Syracuse could have really used their giant in the middle this game, because Sullinger ate them alive, finishing with 19 points and 7 rebounds.  And with that, the Buckeyes advance to the final four.  Ohio State 77, Syracuse 70.

On Sunday, the day kicked off with #1 Kentucky taking on a suddenly very hard to beat Baylor Bears team.  Could Baylor topple one more and roll into the Final Four?  I’s not that easy.  Baylor jumped out to a scoring tear to start the game, and found themselves in control with a 10-5 lead.  And then, the wheels kind of came off for Baylor.  They had a scoring drought, and Kentucky just came hammering back.  All the Wildcats got in on the fun, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchirst, who piled in 19 points for Kentucky.  After that, they never looked back, and would cruise into the Final Four.  Next up for Kentucky, it state rival Louisville, led by former Kentucky coach icon Rick Pitino. The Kentucky media is going to love this.  They’ve been waiting for this match-up, and what better place to watch it unfold then the Final Four.  Kentucky 82, Baylor 70.

Finally, it was #1 North Carolina, led by former Kansas head coach Roy Williams, taking on his old team #2 Kansas, led by new golden boy Bill Self.  This game was a real doozy, neck and neck the entire way.  It looked like a classic finish was in the making.  But, in the last few minutes, Kansas got their act together, made some clutch defensive stops and steals, and turned those into quick points.  What was a back and forth battle soon turned into a 7 point lead for Kansas with a minute to go.  Once that happened, there wasn’t much more the Tar Heels could do.  UNC had a great season, but after losing their star point guard Kendall Marshall in the second round, the writing was on the wall for them.  Kansas 80, UNC 67.

So next weekend, it’s Louisville v. Kentucky and Kansas v. Ohio State.  Just a great final four this year!

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